by Julia Long
I filled my face with life, like, all day. Cool.
I get home from school and see my roommate in the bathroom wiping something down. I fill my face with life when she sees me back. She fills her face with life and there is some shared pain, I sense, for a beat. Pain.
I cause people pain.
My roommate moves to ‘hide’ what she’s cleaning. Just to give herself some unwarranted peace with the situation. I mean, she’s not actually covering it, whatever it is. It’s disgusting, a white-and-yellow paste embedded with rocklike brown solids.
What is it. The fuck could that be.
It could hurt me.
It could have a personality.
Its alienhood makes it major, something I’m gonna remember. An image that’s gonna keep coming—intrusive, at intervals—to me for some time, a big rapist. I accept this.
“Do you need help,” I say.
“No I think I got it,” says my roommate, “There’s just the trash [needs to be taken out].”
“Oh yeah no yeah I’m gonna do that tomorrow it’s just really dark right now,” I say.
“Yeah,” says my roommate, and there is only pain.
Somewhere I want to all of a sudden talk about our relationship.
Just sigh real deep and dramatic, one-step into the bathroom, shut the door behind me. Clear my throat and stuff,
Put a hand on her,
“I just want you to know, I think we’re so good, you and I. Our legacy. Setting time slots for the shower, introducing boyfriends, offering each other beer. I just want you to know, I’m so glad I have you in my life.”
A lot of times I wish we knew each other better.
A lot of times we have class at the same time.
A lot of vague friends come through here, between us.
We are never gonna have that talk.
“You want a beer,” I say. You? You want a beer, look at you babe, hard day at school and now cleaning the sink or something, hey!, the beer wants you.
I was supposed to say “You want to have a beer with me.”
“No I think I’m good,” says my roommate.
She is good.
Most people are trying. Most people mean well. People are generally good.
I go to my room and find things to do with my phone, my computer. Shaughnessy texts me. He wants to play music with me. Do I want to do that? Do I want to fill my face with life? Do I want someone in my eyes? Do I want to deal with the ache getting worse?
I’m gonna do it. Why not.
Maybe Shaughnessy and I will have a musical breakthrough. I have a Band Name Idea anyway. Maybe Shaughnessy wants that beer.
I start putting on a belt. Having things tightly grip me, belts and straps and bands, is totally comforting, I’m being held by stuff. My stuff is holding me. I care about my stuff.
The lusty ache in my genitals is really bad today. Really bad or really good.
It’s not even sexual. It’s not even, for humans. I’m just lusty for the world. Just sitting here gets me lusty. It’s both awesome and uncomfortable.
And putting on a belt makes it worse. Way worse.
Putting on a belt, putting a bad kid away.
Really does feel,
like I’m caging a hungry rabid creature.
That’s how lusty lusty I feel today, let’s see where it goes.
The vague force field,
To my, you know, extremities or whatever,
It just feels vague.
Julia Long is a 20-year-old writer/high kicker/hand jiver beamed down to California by a downright dirty UFO. Her writing has appeared in Thought Catalog, theNewerYork, Electric Cereal, and Rawboned w/ work up-and-coming in Nat. Brut.